Bishopston Trading Company uses 34 tonnes of Fairtrade organic cotton in its products every year. It is very important to us that the cotton we use is both Fairtrade and certified organic.
Conventionally grown cotton uses huge quantities of chemical pesticides, insecticides and fertilizers: it is estimated that 50% of all pesticide used in India is sprayed on cotton. This causes enormous damage to the environment and to the health of farm labourers who are exposed to the chemicals. It also contributes to the unsustainable burden of debt amongst cotton farming households, and the accompanying tragedy of farmer suicides. Farmers growing non-organic cotton find themselves borrowing increasing sums of money from local money lenders to buy the chemicals needed to grow their cotton. As pests develop resistance to the agrochemicals and the soil loses its fertility despite all the chemicals added to it, farmers find themselves trapped in an inescapable spiral of debt. Organic cotton farming offers an environmentally and economically sustainable alternative to this.